Manchester United started the New Year with a victory as they beat Aston Villa 2-1 to move level on points with Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Bertrand Traore’s 58th-minute goal cancelled out Anthony Martial’s first-half opener, but Bruno Fernandes’ penalty extended the Red Devils’ unbeaten run to 10 games.
Only goal difference is keeping United away from top spot, although Liverpool will have the chance to restore the three-point gap when they travel to Southampton on Monday.
United legend Gary Neville marked the club’s move to joint top by cracking open the champagne.
It was an action-packed game at Old Trafford which had a whopping 33 attempts on goal.
Both goalkeepers were tested early on when Emiliano Martinez and David de Gea saved from Anthony Martial and John McGinn, respectively.
Fred and Fernandes also went close for United, before Martial broke the deadlock.
Marcus Rashford released Aaron Wan-Bissaka down the right wing and crossed for Martial, who headed home from close-range.
Aston Villa came out firing at the start of the second-half as United had De Gea to thank for superbly tipping an Ollie Watkins header over the bar.
But Villa were level when Villa took a quick free-kick, which saw Jack Grealish’s clever pass turned in by Traore.
They were level for just three minutes, though, as referee Michael Oliver awarded a penalty to United when Douglas Luiz fouled Paul Pogba in the box.
The decision stood after a VAR review and Fernandes emphatically scored his 15th goal of the season.
Both sides had golden opportunities to score the game’s next goal in the remaining 29 minutes.
Martial stung Martinez’s palms as De Gea did well to save an effort from Anwar El Ghazi.
It was then United’s turn to attack once more when Pogba put Luke Shaw’s cutback wide.
Grealish, who was a constant threat for Villa, crossed for Watkins, who failed to direct his header on target.
More opportunities then fell United’s way when Fernandes’ shot was tipped on to the bar by Martinez, before the resulting corner saw Rashford fire just inches over the bar.
As the game drew to a close, Villa had three excellent chances to equalise, with two coming in injury-time.
Tyrone Mings was guilty of heading a Matty Cash corner wide in the 83rd minute, before the latter had a long-range effort saved by De Gea.
And in the sixth minute of stoppage time, Villa substitute Keinan Davis had a goal-bound shot blocked by Eric Bailly.
It finished 2-1 and United are well and truly breathing down the necks of their old rivals Liverpool.